Why do I decorate for Christmas?
Christmas has been looming for us all year. It’s always been a highlight of the year for our family. The excitement of the season. The Christmas music. The celebration of the real meaning of this holiday. And of course, the presents, the giving and receiving, the Christmas tree, and everything that comes with that.
But this year, the best way to put it is that it has been looming, grey clouds rolling over the horizon. It will be the first Christmas spent without Susan, and to be honest, I’ve been dreading it. From getting the Christmas tree, to decorating, to hosting a party, to shopping for the kids…all of that has been hanging over me. It is such a fun season, but doing those things by yourself is no fun.
I’ve been doing them, though. In spite of myself, at times, I’ve been doing these things that she would have done, that the kids expect. And in the middle of this, I’ve found something – there is a growing part of me that wants to do these things too.
I was wrapping our wooden banister with greenery the other day, trying to remember exactly how this is done correctly, tying and re-tying it, and trying to cover it with the appropriate amount of lights, topping it off with a couple of red bows. As I was going through this decorating ritual, I had the distinct feeling come over me that, even though this was difficult and I had all those same thoughts of doing it alone, that it was also right. That this was what I should be doing…not only ‘should be’, but the thing I needed to do. Something in my heart flickered then, perhaps the sense that it just might come back to life after all.
I thought about why we decorate our houses. That maybe it isn’t just for the kids, or to show off for our neighbors, and not simply for me. Maybe it can be something that actually honors and celebrates God. A way of preparing not only our homes, but our hearts, for Jesus, and all He can bring into our lives. Decorating the house as a spiritual exercise – a holy expectation of good things to come. That was a new thought for me.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do in life is to put one foot in front of the other. But I have the distinct sense that that’s where life is to be found. Ahead, on the path, one step at a time. Which is why I found myself decorating the house this year.